Sunday, August 13, 2006
My grandfather died Friday afternoon after fighting cancer for many years. He would have months of really poor health and then he would rally, and get almost back to normal. For the last four months, he's been very weak and after a stay in the hospital, the doctor sent him to a nursing home so that he could get physical rehab therapy. The cancer began to take over his body. He hated being down like that. I remember him as vital and healthy, beyond his years. He was 85 (or 86?) years old, but up into his late 70's, he was absolutely the picture of health. He had very little gray hair in his jet black until he was well into his 60's and then it gradually went white. He had smooth skin and piercing blue eyes.
My sister and I both have wonderful memories of time spent with Mac and Mimi. When I was about thirteen and my sister was eleven, we began our tradition of traveling with them in the summer. Mac would have sold the house and lived on the road in the trailer that they towed if Mimi was willing. Instead, they were often gone from June to October. My sister and I would either leave with them and fly home after 4 - 6 weeks, or we would fly together and meet them somewhere along their trip. Not only did we get closer to our grandparents during these summers, but also to each other. I don't remember us fighting as much as we did at home. In fact, I remember sending my braver little sister over to meet other kids for us to play with at the campgrounds. She has told me that she remembers me taking care of her and easing her fears when we were flying.
Because of their generosity and interest in us and their love of travel, I've been able to see most of the United States, state by state. We have been to many national parks--Crater Lake, Yellowstone, Painted Desert, Grand Tetons, and the Grand Canyon, not to mention Carlsbad Caverns, Mount St. Helens, Graceland, the World Expo in Vancouver, Disneyland, and seeing our first snow in Northern California (in the summer!). We were also able to visit our great grandmothers and other relatives in California, Mississippi and Texas.
Theologically, I'm pretty sure that heaven isn't our idea of a perfect world--you know eating ice cream and not gaining weight, living in a perfectly decorated self-cleaning model home, time to read or blog to our heart's content. . . . I think that spending eternity with our Lord and Savior is so much more than that.
But metaphorically speaking, I like to picture Mac like he was all those years that he enjoyed so much, driving the Suburban and pulling the Silver Streak trailer, traveling the open road in the highway in the sky.